Ouch

by Anti-Racist Parent columnist, Amber, originally published at American Family

For the last couple years, we haven’t had to deal with too many comments about M’s biracialness. It is probably because she is out in the world with me more often than not and most people seem to just think she is white. The less attention we get the better, in my opinion.

Today was the day we had to sign up for the next semester of Chinese classes. I sent Mr. A the last time, but today I had to manage it because he had to work. I took M and went to stand in line. Because this is Chinese school, pretty much everyone there was Chinese…except me.

When we walked up to get in the line, a lady in front of us looked surprised and loudly said “Ooooh! Is she (M) going to take Chinese classes and learn Chinese?!?”

The entire line turned to look at us. My face turned bright red. M’s smiling face fell and she looked embarrased.

“Her dad is Chinese,” I said, “She can speak some Chinese and she also takes the classes here.”

“Ooooh.” the lady said, “She doesn’t look Chinese at ALL.”

Then she turned to her friends and they all stood there discussing all the parts of M that don’t look Chinese.

“Da bizi….zongse de toufa ….meiyou zhongguoren de…yanjing. Tade baba shi zhongguoren …..”

“Big nose….brown hair…..not Chinese…eyes. Her dad is Chinese something something…” Their heads shaking with disbelief.

I was surprised how much Chinese I was understanding. Unfortunately, I know those words because M knows them too.

M climbed into my arms and buried her head on my shoulder. She was hiding from the group of people discussing her appearance.

I didn’t know what I should do. If they had been white people, I would not have had the slightest problem saying something loudly about how rude they were being and how they were clearly upsetting M. But at Chinese school where we already stick out like a sore thumb? I couldn’t decide if it would be worse for M to be known as the girl with the crazy white mom who yells at people or to just shut up, turn away and hope they stopped sooner rather than later.

If Mr. A had been there, he could have put a stop to it.

But he wasn’t there, so I just stood there stupidly, trying not to cry because they were hurting my little girl. I am still trying not to cry because I know this is going to happen to her over and over in her lifetime.

Amber is currently underpaid and overworked as the full-time parent to a three year-old daughter. Currently, she and her husband are in the process of adopting a child from China. Amber blogs about motherhood, adoption and life in her Midwestern multiracial family at American Family.

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